The Power of Asking and Listening

women talking

I’m a BIG believer in questions – I ask a lot of questions in my coaching sessions and even in regular day-to-day conversations. I don’t mean the type of questions that are embarrassing or personal, I’m talking about the neutral and informative kind.

I also believe in the power of listening attentively and sincerely. One of the greatest compliments you can give someone is to listen with your ears, mind and “heart” as someone is speaking.

My advice: Be an interested listener so the person speaking feels as if they are the most important person in the world!

As I write this, I’m reminded a story I read recently – can’t remember where I read it but it made a lasting impression on me:

Once, a noted psychologist decided to conduct an experiment to prove a theory.

He purchased a first-class plane ticket from New York to Los Angeles.

The experiment was this: Once onboard the plane, he would strike up a conversation with the person seated next to him. The rule he gave himself for the five-hour flight was that he would not say a single thing about himself. He would only ask questions of the person sitting next to him.

He took his seat next to a gentleman, and, without introducing himself, began a conversation.

The psychologist had also assembled a team of researchers in Los Angeles who met the plane when it arrived. They whisked away the psychologist’s flying companion for a quick interview.

The researchers summarized their findings with two remarkable facts:

1. The passenger told the researchers that the man sitting next to him (the psychologist who only asked him questions) was absolutely the most interesting person he had ever met in his entire life!

2. And, he did not know his name!

Interesting isn’t it?

Are you the most interesting person someone could possibly meet?

Do you ask honest and heart-felt questions and then sincerely listen to the answers?


Copyright © 2011 Sharon Michaels – All Rights Reserved

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  1. Posted 12/27/2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    This is terrific advice Sharon. It’s something I remind people to do at networking events. It’s all about the other person and when networking you want to establish a relationship with the other person. I am reminded of the Epicetetus quote “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

  2. sharonmichaels
    Posted 12/27/2011 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the reminder of just how important it is to listen at networking events – 2 ears and 1 mouth!